Former Republic of Ireland striker John Aldridge has urged Robbie Keane to seal a loan move to the Premier League next month, or risk the termination of his record breaking international career.
Aldridge fears Ireland's all-time record goal scorer will be dropped by boss Giovanni Trapattoni for the World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March unless he plays some football during the MLS off-season.
The LA Galaxy striker admits he has yet to decide whether to target another stint in the Premier League after his loan spell at Aston Villa a year ago.
"Sentiment will have to go out the window if the crucial qualifiers against Sweden and Austria roll around and Robbie has spent the previous three months sitting around a swimming pool in LA enjoying a holiday," Aldridge said in Ireland's Sunday World newspaper.
"It's okay going on three mile runs every morning, doing hundreds of sit-ups a day and spending hours in the gym, but football at the highest level is about so much more than just physical fitness, with match sharpness so often the decisive factor.
"Robbie has made it clear that he wants to carry on playing for Ireland until the end of this World Cup qualifying campaign and his record in the green shirt means he is entitled to have some control over when he plays his final international, but he needs to resolve his potential lack of activity to stay in the driving seat alongside Trapattoni.
"Knowing Robbie as I do, he won't allow this situation to get out of control and while he should take Christmas off and have some time with his young family, I'm sure he has his agent working on a loan move that will help to extend his Ireland career into 2013."
Aldridge suggests the 32-year-old could still do the job for a Premier League side for a six-week burst ahead of the new MLS season, with his standing in the game a vital factor as he looks for another spell in England's top division.
"I'm sure there will be a few managers who will appreciate the value of having Robbie in their squad, as everyone in the game knows he is a fine professional," Aldridge said. "You don't score as many goals as he has done down the years unless you are fully committed to the job.
"Robbie proved he could still do a decent job in the Premier League after his successful loan spell at Aston Villa a year ago and he should not feel too ashamed to dip into the Championship for a few weeks and play for a team chasing promotion."